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Screenwriter Samy Burch on Her Journey With Coyote vs. ACME

The decision by Warner Bros Discovery to cancel its planned release for the live action hybrid movie based on a popular Looney Tunes staple, Coyote vs. ACME, as in Wile. E. Coyote and his long-time supplier of crazy traps and inventions used to capture his arch-nemesis, the Roadrunner, has been all over the news this past week. That was especially true when the “tax write-off” decision was reversed and the powers-that-be at WBD decided to allow the filmmakers to shop the project to another distributor, with Amazon thought to be a frontrunner to grab it.

It just so happens that Above the Line was already scheduled to speak with Screenwriter Samy Burch, whose screenplay for Todd Haynes‘ upcoming May December could very well get her an Oscar nomination for her very first produced feature. It’s a fantastic screenplay, and a very different dramatic film, starring Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, which will hit select theaters tomorrow and Netflix on Dec. 1.

We’ll have a full interview with Ms. Burch shortly, but we were excited to talk to her about Coyote vs. ACME, mainly as long-time fans of Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, but especially curious, because it seems like it would be such a different project for her as a screenwriter.

“I got hired from this script [i.e. May December] on Coyote vs. ACME,” Burch told us during a Zoom chat. “The last few years it’s been this back and forth of the two projects, which they’re very different, obviously. It’s hard to think of a similarity really, but yeah, that’s been a wild emotional roller coaster as far as the bad news and then the good and then seeing people mobilize. That’s been really heartening; I’ve been really blown away by how many people were really upset by that, and I am grateful — now we just have to find it a good home.”

Maybe it’s not so strange to see Burch’s name in the credits, since there are quite a few humorous moments in Haynes’ May December, but it is indeed strange to see that the movie is “based on a magazine article,” according to IMDb. Wait a darn second, was that original Looney Tunes cartoon premise, something from a nature magazine like National Geographic? Not quite.

“It’s a humor piece by Ian Frazier called “Coyote vs. ACME,” and it’s like a transcript of a court trial of Wile E. suing the ACME Corporation,” Burch explained. “This is a project that Warner Brothers has been trying to make in many variations for a long time. I joined it right after David Green, the director, came on board. So it was right before the pandemic, I got hired to do that. I was on it for years, really, and they shot it last year. It’s such a funny idea, and it’s a lot of amazing artists – there’s a lot of practical effects. It’s a hybrid. The irony of this whole thing is very funny, because they were all out in the desert, getting cars crunched, and then it looked like it was gonna have a similarly sad story to Wile E. trying to get the Road Runner but I’m very optimistic about it.”

Although it’s still up in there where and when we might finally see Coyote vs. ACME, you can see a very different but absolutely fantastic film written by Burch when May December opens, first in select theaters tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 17, or when it streams on Netflix starting Dec. 1.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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